Sloan Roundup

I’ve had a few conversations about Sloan recently. I got my first call as an alum from an entering student two weeks ago. George and Jay continue to blog. George has become pretty prolific in spite of slipping away to Cape Cod every weekend.

Jay’s been quieter, for good reason: he’s been learning CSS and getting bored with his Xbox. Hang in there, Jay, though I can’t tell you why–and check out some of my posts about CSS and redesigning my site earlier this year.

Charlie’s been heads down at the office, from what I hear. Bransby just resurfaced in Newport Beach. No word from Niall.

Paper: Recession DOES make a difference in IT spending

Anna Pavlova: Adjustment Costs, Learning-by-Doing, and Technology Adoption under Uncertainty. New paper by one of the “young turks” in financial research at the MIT Sloan School about the effects of recession and organizational capability on technology adoption. Basically, the model shows that, under uncertainty, the rate of adoption of technology is critically dependent on capital expenditure and organizational capability.

This formally describes what many of us suspected already: companies with better technological capabilities will be better able to adopt new technologies even in down times. I wonder what this says about the wisdom of technology outsourcing strategies.

Making progress…but not on company time

I narrowed the problem with iTunes2Manila down last night. It’s got to be in the code that handles creating and posting the news item to Manila; the sister script (iTunes2TextEdit) works fine putting the same information into a TextEdit document, so the disappearance of the track information must be happening somewhere else.

I haven’t made much progress on my apps recently, largely because:

  • I’m employed and doing anything with them on company time would be crazy stupid
  • We are still catching up with the house–the garden and general house improvements and unpacking continue to take a lot of time
  • My wife works east coast hours and I need to maximize the time that I can have with her, meaning after dinner programming is a no-no
  • I finally got the Diablo II Expansion Set working (I had had a damaged Diablo II install disc, which prevented me from installing the expansion set), and I’m addicted again.

I think I’m going to have to schedule my late nights. Programming Monday, Diablo Tuesday, unpacking Wednesday…

I’ve been tired

It’s been a fairly turbulent seven days. I worked hard for about two months on a strategy project only to have it taken away, and am pretty much starting from scratch trying to learn about a new market, product suite, and set of job skills. I have regained a little balance over the past few days, which is critical because I have to be executing pretty hard now.

The strategy project is probably in better hands now. While I had been looking forward to going onto the next phase, we had reached a point where all the decisions needed to be made at a higher organizational level. I’m looking forward to the challenge of redefining what I can deliver and doing some execution. It’s been a while.

Jaguar Roundup

CUPS: MacNN has a tutorial on enabling CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) in Jaguar. After reading the tutorial, I would guess it wasn’t implemented by default because the UI sounds sketchy (printer configuration through a web interface on port 631 rather than through Print Center, for instance). The interesting thing is that it can support printing via SMB (Windows printers), though you have to do some terminal-jockey things to make that option available.

Prebinding: I always wondered why people claimed you had to update prebinding so frequently–and why there were about ten tools on VersionTracker to provide a GUI to a relatively simple command. Bill Bumgarner says that you never need to update prebinding yourself in 10.2, and that most people weren’t getting anything from doing it in 10.1.

Radio madness: I continue to have intermittent access to
Radio through its Desktop web interface. Right after starting Radio, everything works fine, but after a bit I start to get “connection was refused.” Next step is to play with the firewall settings and see how things go.

Manila Envelope (and other SOAP based AppleScripts): I was pretty freaked when Manila Envelope failed to work for me the first time I tried it. I’ve since gotten it to work reliably. However, iTunes2Manila appears to have an issue–haven’t figured out what the problem is. If you’re having problems with any of my scripts under Jaguar (or for any other reason), contact me.

Weekend update

The Seattle International Beer Festival was a good time but smaller than I expected. The main focus is international beers, meaning that the biggest representation is from importers rather than local brewers working in international styles (although there were some good examples). Brewery reps weren’t on hand either. But I did meet the ops manager from (and signed up for a club subscription!). Standout beers included Lindeman’s Frambozenbier, a Polish porter from Ziewicz, and Harvieston’s Bitter & Twisted, along with the usual excellent Belgian brews.

Well, never mind.

I was all fired up to write how I couldn’t connect to my Radio desktop news aggregator under Mac OS X 10.2. Which was true on Friday, but no longer true today for some reason. Maybe Manila Envelope will work today too?


So Manila Envelope doesn’t appear to work as is under Mac OS X 10.2. In fact, even rebuilding it doesn’t do the trick. Never fear, I’m working on it, but I can’t figure out what the hell is wrong…

Housework and beer

Lisa weeded this morning and ripped up a dead tree while I cleaned the house and cleaned up the garage. Nice having a space where you can just pound a nail into the wall or screw in a hook, hang something up, and youíre done.

Weíre going to head into town to pick up some Fiano di Avellino at the Pike and Western, then stop by the Seattle International Beerfest. Looking forward to seeing if it’s as good as itís hyped, but given the number of Belgian brews it should be worth the price of admission.

First impressions

Yes, it’s a slow day at the office. But it’s a faster day on Mac OS X. Jaguar absolutely launches faster, multitasks better, and seems generally cleaner.

One or two complaints:

  • While the Help engine launches much faster, it takes longer to retrieve help for an individual application the first time; second time is much faster. The Help Center is now a drawer, which is both good and bad. Good–you can jump to any help book you want at any time. Bad–they forgot a scroll bar in the drawer and to see additional books you have to resize the parent window.
  • I very much dig the new address book. One or two glitches: it opens a “Converting” window on first run and takes forever to close it (stays with a full progress bar and the message “Saving…” for a long time). Not clear from the new UI how you have a card in more than one “group” at a time. I liked being able to categorize someone as “UVA Alum,” “Glee Club,” and “Old Friend”; this functionality appears to be gone.

Still looking at other things. Mostly I’m just glad my machine is working again.

I never thought I’d quote Jake Lloyd…

..but “it’s working! It’s working!!!!”

After verifying the hard disk repairs, I removed one big chunk of packaged software that I wasn’t using and had a CD for reinstall if I needed. I was concerned about not having enough free disk space to continue the install. Then I put the upgrade disk in, switched my boot disk to my OS X partition, and rebooted.

Sure enough, the installer came up and told me that I needed to insert Install Disk 2. As I write this, it’s finishing the installation of the additional applications.

I think I dodged a bullet.

Thank God for Norton

The longer I’m a Mac user, the more I’m convinced that disk repair utilities are like money. The more of them you have, the better.

As reported previously, during the install of Mac OS X 10.2 my OS X partition went blooey. I ran Disk First Aid repair three times, which still left three reported errors: “Invalid BTree Header,” “MountCheck found serious errors,” and “Volume header needs minor repair.” I pulled out an old copy of Norton Utilities and ran Disk Doctor. It appears to have fixed all the errors–I’m cross checking with Disk First Aid now.

What’s next? Well, I’m bloody well going to back up my user data. Then I’m going to try the upgrade again. This time if it fails I’ll have to wipe the partition and spend the weekend reinstalling applications.